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Conserve energy in everyday tasks

EDITORíS NOTE: This edited column by Toi N. Degree, the Family and Consumer Education Agent with the Rowan County Cooperative Extension Service, appeared in the October 26, 2009, issue of the Salisbury Post. It relates to improving air quality because when citizens save energy, coal-fired power plants need to produce less and therefore emit fewer chemicals which cause pollution.
While conserving energy should always be a goal of ours as winter approaches, many families experience higher energy bills.
The average U.S. family spends about $1,900 dollars a year on their utility bill, making it very important to find ways to reduce energy usage and stretch energy dollars.
Replace light bulbs. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL). Lighting typically represents about 6 percent of a home’s energy consumption.
Use a 15-watt CFL bulb in place of a 60-watt incandescent bulb. Over the 10,000-hour life of the CFL bulb, it can save you approximately $5.40 a year based on kilowatt price of 8 cents. In addition to these savings, because incandescent bulbs typically last only 1,000 hours, you are also saving on the actual purchase price of 10 regular incandescent bulbs.
Eliminate phantom, or vampire, energy use. Phantom power is the energy that some appliances and equipment use even when they are turned off. These appliances include televisions, VCRs, cell phone chargers and stereos.
To stop your appliances from using phantom power, either unplug them at the wall or plug them into a power strip and then turn the power strip off when the appliances are not needed.
Adjust your hot water heater. Keep your hot water heater at 120 degrees; this setting is sufficient for most household needs.
By reducing the heat setting of the water coming out of your water heater you can reduce the energy needed to heat it.
Insulating your electric water heater storage tank will have also help with conserving energy; however, if you have a gas tank it is not recommended that you insulate. Seek professional assistance for proper installation and advice before you insulate.
Save while doing laundry. Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. Make certain to run the washer and dryer only when you have a full load. Be cautious not to over-dry clothes and, whenever possible, dry two or more loads in a row.
Also, be sure to clean the dryer filter between loads, and if the weather is warm, consider hanging the clothes on the line.

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